You’ve bought your car and now you need to get ready for the big trip. The most important thing you’re going to need, if you want to save money on hostels and accommodation is a sleeping platform.
I scoured the internet to try and find resource on how to build one but struggled to find much, so used all of the pictures I could find on Pinterest and Google to come up with my own.
Initially, it will seem like a daunting task, especially if you are like me, someone who has not had any experience using tools or building. But I promise you, if you take it step-by-step, and put in a few hours, you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful sleeping platform.
Things you will need for you sleeping platform
- Timber – you will need some wood, I used some posts, planks and a plywood board
- Drill and drill bits – can’t really build without
- Screws – for the obvious
- Wood Glue – not essential but will give some more security
- Tape measure, Ruler and pencil
- Cable ties
- Ring hooks
Altogether, the sleeping platform and mattress cost me no more than $400. I already had a drill which made it easier.
Things to consider
- Buy the wood from Bunnings Warehouse. The biggest hardware store in the country. They can also cut the wood for you.
- You’re going to need a large space to build. I suggest using the Bunnings car park. That way, you can also as ask for help from the staff, who are more than happy to assist with any questions.
- Your height and size. If you are very tall you need to think about whether you will be able to sleep comfortably after you install the sleeping platform?
- The height of the inside of your car. After installing the platform and the mattress, will you have enough headroom to sleep? Remember the mattress is going to be fairly thick.
- Will you be able to slot all you want under the platform based on how high it is and where the foundations/posts have been placed?
- Will you be able to get into the car easily enough after completion?
- Do you want the platform to go all the way to the back? I quite liked a little bit of space left, so we could sit on the edge of the boot.
- Buy a mattress from Clark Rubber. They will cut your mattress to size and you can choose the thickness.
How to Build
My platform consisted of what I would call two tables and then a mattress placed on top. I built two tables to make manoeuvring it into the car easier than one massive table. It’s also much stronger.
I had a Nissan X-Trail SUV which allowed the seats to fold down completely flat. If your car doesn’t allow, you may need to remove the seats completely.
First and foremost, consider what the height of the tallest thing you will put under the platform. Only then, can you know how high the platform needs to be.
For me it was a box that was around 25cm, so I knew I had to have the platform at least 25cm above the floor level.
On completing this, measure the inside to see what the maximum size of the platform that the car will allow.
It is a good tip to fold down the front seats towards the steering wheel. This will allow more room to sleep. When you drive, you will fold the platform back up and fold the seats back into driving position.
Find some good anchor points on your car so that the posts will sit securely. There’s nothing worse than measuring up, cutting your pieces of wood, only to find that they would sit on an uneven surface.
As a result, I knew that I would need 8 posts of the same size, 4 planks and 3 pieces of chipboard/plywood. Choose your pieces at Bunnings and get them cut to size. Remember to take into account the thickness of the wood when considering the height of the sleeping platform.
As you can see, I have two posts connected by a plank. This forms the legs of the table with the plank providing additional support. The plywood will then be drilled on top. Use a bit of wood glue on the main joins, then screw the pieces together.
In addition, when screwing, make sure to put a pilot hole using a drill bit smaller than the screw and then use that hole as a guide to drill the screws into the wood. Ensure the screws you have bought will go through all of the 3 pieces of wood. As shown in the picture.
Make another table based on the dimensions you have measured. It may not be exactly the same as the first table you have made.
The final bit of the sleeping platform is an extra piece of plywood that acts as the extended piece. When sleeping, put your front seats forward and fold this board out, to give you extra space. A useful tip is not to make this piece too long, as when you are folding it up, it can be difficult with things in the way.
Then, drill your hinges into the table you will put nearest the head of the car and then drill the extra piece of plywood to this hinge to attach the two together. This is shown below. Note, my piece was a bit long. Would have made the table longer and the 3rd piece shorter if I was to do it again.
Finally, if possible, you can use cable ties to tie the sleeping platform down to the car. This will prevent it moving around when you drive on those crazy Ozzy roads.
Screw a ring hook into the post and use a cable tie to secure it to whatever you can find on the car.
I hope you found this useful and you can adapt it to your own car. Hit the share if you liked the post.